I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hiromi Iwasaki/Jackey Yoshikawa and His Blue Comets -- Sumire Iro no Namida (すみれ色の涙)

One of the other songs that had resonated with me and launched me on my 30-year odyssey with kayo kyoku was "Sumire Iro no Namida"(Violet Tears) by Hiromi Iwasaki (岩崎宏美). It was just such a beautiful ballad. Iwasaki started out as an aidoru in 1975, but it must've been evident early to producers that she would not stay that way. She has a voice that could only belong to stage musicals....and sure enough years later, she would play a role in the Japanese production of "Les Miserables". Also, "Sumire Iro no Namida" was her 25th single in 6 years, so she was certainly not lacking for work. Iwasaki also stood out physically in a year where a lot of the new wave of aidoru were getting cute Dorothy Hamill bobs or Seiko-chan cuts. She had started her career with a similar short cut in the mid-70s but by 1981, had grown her locks to waist-length. No longer an aidoru, she was very much a songstress.

"Sumire Iro no Namida"was released in June 1981, and peaked at No. 6 on the Oricon weeklies before ending up No. 45 on the annual single charts. She personally won a Japan Record Award and appeared in the 1981 Kohaku Utagassen where she showed her tender side by weeping into the second verse which got all of the other female singers to rally around her.

Iwasaki's heartful rendition, though, was actually a cover. The original singer was Jackey Yoshikawa and his Blue Comets in 1968. It was the B-side to the group's 11th single, "Kokoro no Niji"(心の虹....Rainbow of the Heart)which came out in January of that year. That single peaked at No. 5 on Oricon. (Their cover comes at around 2:45 of the above video)

Here is Iwasaki herself performing the song on stage. By the way, "Sumire Iro no Namida" was written by Yukiko Marimura(万里村ゆき子)and composed by Hiroshi Oda(小田啓義).

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